To consider the report of the Health Protection Board which provides an update on key Health Protection Board priorities, achievements and areas of focus for 2022/23. This item will also look back at what the health protection system helped to achieve in the Covid-19 response and other significant infectious disease incidents experienced in the city.
Victoria Eaton, Director of Public Health, introduced the report which reviewed health protection system achievements during the Covid-19 response and other significant infectious disease incidents experienced in the city. Victoria noted the duty to retain an oversight on all activity to protect the public’s health, to identify collective risks and to take action and respond to these as a city. The city’s Covid response had been built on the strength of the Board and she expressed her thanks to the report authors who had produced the report at the same time as their work responding to the pandemic.
Dawn Bailey, Chief Officer Public Health, provided an overview of the remit of the Health Protection Board (HPB) and its focus on reducing heath inequalities through clear priorities and working together as one system to accelerate action:
• Reducing the incidents of TB
• Childhood immunisations
• Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and protecting the efficacy of anti- biotics
• Addressing air quality
• Keeping people well and warm in the winter
Together with Martin Bewley, UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), Dawn provided an overview of national and local threats to public health and the Leeds HPB response. Reference was made to the recent outbreak of avian influenza – large urban centres like Leeds are vulnerable to infection in wild birds in public spaces, and an isolated number of cases had occurred in Golden Acre Park. The HPB had responded swiftly, ensuring an information campaign ran to inform the public of the danger, with Health Protection Teams working with commissioners and pharmacies to monitor affected individuals and ensure the availability of anti-viral medication.
The Board discussed the following matters:
· Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and protecting the efficacy of anti-biotics - resistance will impact on the availability of surgical procedures and recovery times. Monitoring of prescribing in General Practice was undertaken and work was ongoing with pharmacists to better understand the health needs and demographics of local communities. Work to include Dental practices in the HPB discussions on AMR was also being done.
· Addressing air quality – Public awareness had increased of the impact of poor air quality on health, although there was less understanding of the long-term impacts and how Nitrogen Oxide and particulate matter can contribute to premature deaths. Air quality has a greater impact on residents in urban areas or on low incomes as it can exacerbate existing conditions linked to housing and general health
· Keeping people well and warm in the winter – This was an important part of system resilience can reduce the number of hospital admissions as cold has a particular impact on overall health and the ability to stay well. Small grants and additional support are available to people identified through primary care pathways and the Board heard there was work planned to strengthen the pathway to include a wider group of health professionals, such as community nurses, GP receptionists and social prescribers. The Board noted the national push for home insulation and the question of how the council can influence national decisions on home insulation, particularly for older or financially vulnerable people.
a) To endorse the Health Protection Board’s report.
b) To note the key progress made against the priorities previously identified in the 2018 Health Protection Board report.
c) To support the new priorities identified by the Health Protection Board for 2021/23.
d) Having considered how the Health and Wellbeing Board can support the new emerging health protection priorities in relation to underserved populations, particularly those living in the most deprived 10% parts of the city, the comments made during discussions outlined above be noted (for action).